Kohler, Wisconsin: Anirban Lahiri produced a brilliant finish to his second round with a hat-trick of birdies and two steady pars for a round of five-under 67 that catapulted him to seven-under and tied fourth place at the halfway stage of the PGA Championships here on Saturday.
Beginning the traditional 'Moving day', the third day of a event, Lahiri came back to finish his remaining five holes of the second round and immediately rolled in three successive birdie to go with the three he had in the first 13 last evening here at the Whistling Straits.
With six birdies against one bogey, his 67 also meant the best-ever round by an Indian at any Major. He bettered the score of 68, once each by Jeev Milkha Singh (2008 PGA), Lahiri himself (2012 British Open) and Shiv Kapur (2013 British Open).
Lahiri's tied fourth place is the best an Indian has been placed at the halfway stage of any Major.
It also put Lahiri in line to go better than Jeev's best finish by an Indian at any Major, which is tied-ninth at the 2008 PGA Championships at Oakland Hills.
On the Indian Independence Day, Lahiri rolled in birdies on fifth, sixth and seventh, before closing with steady pars on eighth and ninth holes for a round of 67.
Speaking of his three birdies, Lahiri, winner of Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open this year, said, "(On) the fifth hole, I found the fairway and I hit my 3-wood just over the green, a couple yards over the back and 2-putted from there. Then on sixth, where they had the tees up, so I hit my driver, but was 10 or 15 yards was short of the green. Chipped it to about four or five feet and I holed it.
"And on 7 (par-3), I hit a great shot. I think that's probably the best shot I've hit all of my second round, not just today. It was playing about 224 yards or so. I hit my 4-iron to about five feet. And I tapped that in. So that was a good stretch there. I think the course is playing really well.
"There hasn't been a massive difference in how the course has played. Obviously, wind's a factor that can come and go but in terms of how the greens or the fairways have rolled out or the roughs have held up, the bunkers, they have all been very, very consistent. So there's not that much that's going to change," he said.
On the issue of missing some birdie putts earlier, Lahiri said: "The game has been there. I was a little frustrated yesterday because even in the afternoon I think the conditions were good for scoring. I hit a lot of fairways, but I just didn't seem to hit them close enough, or when I did I just didn't make enough putts.
"I felt like I could have played really well in the 13 holes that I played yesterday. So, I guess it was nice to just get some sleep and calm down and just come back and focus. So that was good indeed."
Late last evening, Lahiri holed three birdies against one bogey to get to two-under through 13 holes in the unfinished second round before the onset of violent thunderstorms which led to suspension of play.
Starting from the 10th with a late afternoon start, Lahiri may well have been even better than where he is had he not missed at least two 10-footers and two more between 13 and 16 feet for birdies. He did have a good long birdie putt from just under 24 feet on par-3 third.
Lahiri birdied both the par-5s on the back stretch of Whistling Straits, which he played first after teeing off from 10th. He birdied the 11th and the 16th, but dropped a shot on par-3 17th, where his 13-footer par putt finished three inches from the cup. He holed a great 24-footer on par-3 second for his third birdie, but saw his 16-footer birdie putt slide past the cup on par-5 second.
Lahiri's prominent birdie misses came on par-4s, 13th and 14th. Still with some steady play, the 28-year-old Indian, who has two big wins this season in Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open, can still rise higher.
At the top, Australian Matt Jones (68-65) moved into sole lead at 11-under and two clear of fellow Australian Jason Day (68-67). Jones and Day had shared the lead at 9-under with some holes still to play when second-round play was suspended and they were 5-under in their second rounds with Day having four holes left and Jones having six left.
David Lingmerth (67-70), Tony Finau (71-66) and Lahiri (70-67) were tied for fourth.
Tiger Woods (75-73) finished four-over and missed the cut in a Major for the third time this year.